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Twin peaks: the seasonality of acute malnutrition, conflict and environmental factors - Chad, South Sudan and the Sudan

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FAO and Tufts University. 2019. Twin peaks: the seasonality of acute malnutrition, conflict and environmental factors – Chad, South Sudan and the Sudan. September 2019. Rome.




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    High levels of insecurity and inter-community conflict persist in various areas across the Sahel, particularly in parts of Burkina Faso, Mali and the Niger, significantly increasing population displacements in the region. Despite overall satisfactory agricultural production, there are significant disparities between geographical areas, with declines in cereal production expected in various countries, including Senegal. Price increases compared with the five-year average. The pastoral situation is marked by significant forage deficits in the far west of the Sahel – Senegal and Mauritania – and in parts of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and the Niger, which have led to early transhumance movements and the increased risk of aggravating farmer-pastoralist conflicts. According to the latest Cadre Harmonisé analysis (November 2019), 15.5 million people, including in Cameroon, are projected to be severely food insecure during next year’s lean season (June–August 2020) – an alarming deterioration that has never been observed in the last five years. This is the result of cyclical causes, including local cereal and fodder production deficits due to drought and floods, but mainly due to the worsening security situation in the region. High prevalence of acute malnutrition is also still observed, and if the security situation deteriorates further, nutrition conditions would also worsen, especially among IDPs and host communities. Providing immediate agricultural support is crucial to support the livelihoods of vulnerable displaced and host families to improve their food security and nutrition, as well as to reduce the risk of tensions over already limited natural resources
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    Twin peaks: the seasonality of acute malnutrition, conflict and environmental factors in Chad, South Sudan and the Sudan - Briefing note
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    This is the first in a series of three briefing papers that form part of the Mind the gap – Bridging the research, practice and policy divide to enhance livelihood resilience in conflict settings project, a collaboration between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Feinstein International Center, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. This briefing paper accompanies a report that highlights major new findings on the seasonal patterns of child malnutrition and their links to climate variability, conflict and livelihood systems in Chad, South Sudan and the Sudan.
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    In Chad, recurrent climatic shocks and conflict are exacerbating people’s food insecurity, particularly in the Lake Chad Basin, where there are nearly 300 000 displaced people. In addition, the country hosts a large number of refugees from the Central African Republic and the Sudan. Despite good cereal production from the 2019/20 agricultural season, a 42-percent fodder deficit was registered in the Sahel region, significantly affecting feed availability for pastoralists’ during the dry season. Furthermore, drought, irregular rainfall and increased insecurity are preventing herders from access grazing land. Livestock mortality rates have al o been increasing during this year’s pastoral lean season. Following confirmed COVID-19 cases, the Government put in place a series of urgent and essential health-related mitigation measures, including the lockdown of all the main cities, movement restrictions and border closures. These are indirectly affecting the supply chain, limiting imports and disrupting markets, which is adding pressure on conflict-affected areas – Lake Chad Basin and Tibesti – where 40 percent of the population is experiencing difficulties in accessing markets. In addition, the prices of millet – one of Chad’s most important subsistence crops – has sharply increased, by 37 percent between April 2019 and April 2020. In the framework of FAO’s Corporate COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme and the United Nations Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19, FAO has revised its humanitarian response for 2020 to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and address the needs of the most vulnerable households.

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